This article cheered me up today. It relates how Jordan and Israel are working together to facilitate tourism to Petra. Israeli tour guides take parties to the border, and hand them over to Jordanian guides who take them to Petra for the day.
It’s pleasant to see animosity giving way to a chance to make money together. And the Jordanians are quite right! All these Israelis have money, and are willing to hand it over to the Jordanians in exchange for tickets to Petra, maps, souvenirs, cans of Pepsi, bus-travel, guide services, hotels… the list goes on and on. A lot of Jordanians will get rich. Most Jordanians will become better off.
Tourism is such a big business that only really, really stupid countries don’t get in on it. Arnold Swarzengger appears on UK television, promoting tourism to California, because it’s serious money. Even the most hideous despot — and Jordan is not run by one! — recognises that coaches full of foreign tourists bearing dollars is A Good Thing, and a very profitable form of farming. Egypt runs Luxor these days pretty much as a tourist farm; and quite rightly too.
Someone in Jordan has had a very clever idea. Good for them.
(Thanks to Paleojudaica for the tip).